Funny how you come to love certain foods you hated as a kid. Take beet greens. “Good for you,” and “just out of the garden” failed to convinced the miserable kid I recall being every August whenever a slop of boiled beet greens landed on my plate.
Today they’re a favourite summer food, even dished out the way Mom did. I’ve come to love a flavour that hints of the very ground the vegetable came from. Maybe the taste and scent of them cooking makes me a little nostalgic too!
Beet greens also offer great nutritional value. According to Nutrition. data.com(a handy website to
check if you’re curious about nutritional value of anything you eat) one cup of beet greens contains a heap of vitamin A (220 per cent daily value) and over half (60 per cent) the vitamin C you need for the day too. They’re a good source of dietary fibre too, plus a whole cup contains just 39 calories. About the only thing against beet greens is their higher-than-usual sodium content – that half cup has 347 mg or a 14 per cent daily value.
Still, I reluctantly tossed fresh beet greens on the compost heap the other day. Our small household couldn’t possibly eat the wheelbarrowful full that came with a substantial harvest of beets last week when there was not time to freeze any of it. Plus, many more platefuls of greens await us out in the garden.
Here’s a couple of my own recipes plus one from Peak of the Market for using abundant beets and beet greens this time of year.
Do you have a favourite summer recipe you’d like to share with readers? We’re always happy to help readers swap and share recipes.
BEETS AND SAUTED GREENS
1 bunch beets with greens
1/4 c. oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. chopped red onion (optional) Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
BOILED BEET GREENS WITH RED PEPPER FLAKES
Boiled beet greens are good stirred in to pastas or omelettes too.
1 lb. beet greens Vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (optional) Freshly ground pepper
Boil the greens until tender then chop coarsely. Heat a little oil and add garlic and pepper flakes, cook only about one minute. Stir in greens, season with pepper and serve.
Manitoba Co-operator Recipe Swap
Box 1794, Carman, Man. R0G 0J0
Heat oven to 350C. Thoroughly wash and remove greens from beets, leaving skins on the beets and setting greens aside. Toss beets with half the oil retaining 2 tbsp., full, then cover in a roasting pan and bake for up to 1 hour or until beet slices easily. As roasting nears completion, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. of oil in a skillet, add onion and garlic, then add torn beet greens. Cook and stir just until greens are wilted and tender. Slice the roasted beets and serve with butter or balsamic vinegar.
NUTTY BEET SALAD
Here’s one more recipe courtesy of Peak of the Market for using your fresh garden beets. I used tender, shredded beet greens mixed with lettuce for the mixed salad greens in this recipe.
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar 3 cooked beets, grated 2 apples
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. mayonnaise 1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped Mixed salad greens Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. pecans, toasted
Sprinkle vinegar over beets, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours. Core and slice apples, place slices in a dish and sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Remove beets from refrigerator; add dressing. Add apples and mix gently to coat. To serve, arrange a handful of salad greens on each plate and top with large spoonful of apple/beet mixture. Sprinkle pecans over salad. Serves 4.